My eyes suddenly opened as I felt I was falling off a cliff.
I saw with unfocused eyes and a small arm moving of its own accord. The arm belonged to my body but was not mine yet. My body was out of my control at the moment and was only performing reflex movements irrelevant to outside stimuli.
Modern science said that this happened as an infant’s immature brain activities. They were right, as my brain was not fully grown yet. However, modern science would not be able to illuminate my current thought processes. They belonged in the religion category since the reason I could think like I am now was thanks to my soul.
I moved my gaze with difficulty to the two people who were looking down on me. My undeveloped sight only saw shadows of their faces, and my hearing was about the same. My mother had said that she had given birth at home instead of a hospital because of our poor finances with help from her sister, who was a nurse.
So, the two people staring at me would be my mother and my aunt.
While I could not see much, the system message windows were clear. Reading them and my current eyesight seemed irrelevant, and probably functioned on the same basis of being able to think with the underdeveloped brain of an infant.
The messages went straight into my brain. I read the messages that appeared in front of me.
[Quest ‘Become Healthy 1’ begins.]
[Become Healthy 1 (Quest)
Mission: Drink breast milk three hundred times in one month.]
I finally knew why the First Evil was one of the most powerful beings from the ‘Day of Advent.’ He had accumulated points from when he was an infant, and in other words, he was a cheat.
“You have to wrap the arms and legs of a baby, or they wake up surprised and floundering.”
“But my son is crying so much. There’s nothing wrong with him? He has all his fingers and toes, right?”
“You’ve asked me that three times now. He’s crying for you to feed him. Congratulations on a healthy son.”
Junghee washed the afterbirth off the baby and let Mihee hug Sunhoo. Mihee was crying not out of pain, but of gratitude for her baby being healthy. She still could not understand that she had become a mother and gave birth to a baby.
However, Mihee could not take her eyes off her baby clamoring for her milk. She let Sunhoo drink from her breast and saw that her worries about not having enough milk for her baby were unfounded. Sunhoo sucked at her nipple and gulped down her milk.
“He’s a fierce eater.”
It was interesting to feel my mouth move instinctively the moment my mouth was pressed to my mother’s breast. It was an involuntary movement similar to my flailing arms and legs, and I felt like I was inside a small animal.
I knew a person who used Soul Transference as a major skill. That individual would have observed his targets like this, inside their bodies but without control, before completely swallowing their souls.
However, this was my body, and my limbs and lips that moved as they pleased were just reflexes. I did not need to fight with another soul because of Soul Transference.
I felt a lukewarm liquid down my throat without tasting it much. However, l felt the liquid pour down my throat and stomach like when drinking water just after waking up in the morning.
I could focus on drinking breast milk because my limbs were not moving, thanks to my aunt wrapping me in a blanket. My mother carefully supported my neck, and I could feel my stomach becoming full in the midst of maternal love.
This was bliss, and I thought I might cry of sheer happiness. I felt relieved that I could not burst into tears yet. My mother would be astonished to see her son cry after feeding him breast milk for the first time.
I did not remove my lips from my mother’s breast until I could not drink anymore, and my lips stopped moving in reflex when I felt full.
A message popped up. I only wished it didn’t cover my mother’s face.
[Become Healthy: Drink breast milk 1/300]
My aunt lifted me and she began to pat my back. I was starting to feel stuffed after being full, but I could not throw up what I had swallowed alone.
I thought something was stuck in my stomach, but it was only a burp. I felt refreshed, and the sound of two women laughing was music to my ears.
It was time for me to sleep when considering my mother had spent most of the early morning giving birth to me.
However, I could not sleep because my body hurt everywhere. The pain I had suffered when going through the canal dissipated with my mother’s milk. The torment I felt now was reduced from the pain I had felt then.
The pain chased away my sleep whenever I tried to close my eyes, and truthfully, I did not want to sleep.
My aunt’s hands were as gentle as my mother’s and the time I spent lying in her arms as she supported my back and neck was too dear and comfortable. However, I wanted to be in my mother’s more awkward arms.
I cried until my aunt handed me to my mother and did not stop even when my aunt rubbed my back and sang to me.
When I immediately stopped crying the moment my mother held me, I heard the two women laugh again. I already began to feel sorry because I needed to drink breast milk at least ten times a day to complete the mission.
I had to drink about twelve times a day to accomplish the quest safely, which meant I had to ask for my mother’s milk every two hours.
I saw to what extent my mother would have to sacrifice herself. She would lose nights and weekends.
I must have fallen asleep and woke up feeling hungry. I could repress crying out in hunger or wet diapers since my thought processes were not those of an infant.
I wanted my mother to rest today. 1985 did not have postnatal care centers, and mothers lived with their babies by their side in this era.
Moreover, my mother could not ask for help as both of my grandmothers had passed away, and my aunt had to go back to work.
Since she had to raise me without any postnatal care, my mother’s pelvis began to show problems in her forties.
The Day of Advent was still far ahead, and I had thirty days before the deadline for this quest expired. So, my mother should rest at least for today since she would not be able to sleep at night from tomorrow.
I began to endure the void in my stomach and was reminded how weak infants were as hunger was starting to turn into pain. While it did not hurt much, I felt like someone was poking my stomach.
So, this was why babies could not endure being hungry. I had gone against the Eight Evils and Eight Virtues and had overcome the adversity of the birth canal with my mother. I could not ruin my mother’s only day of rest because of this hunger.
However, when the time came, my mother let me suck at her breast, and the survival instincts of an infant kicked in reflex.
I should not do this, at least today…
[Become Healthy 1: Drink breast milk 2/300]
[Become Healthy 1: Drink breast milk 9/300]
[Become Healthy 1: Drink breast milk 10/300]
[Become Healthy 1: Drink breast milk 11/300]
Despite my efforts, my mother could not sleep at night from the first day. My father had begun work at this time and could not help my mother out.
Also, raising babies was solely the mother’s responsibility in this era. My mother never looked anywhere else when she was alone in the house with me.
She would wrap me up carefully whenever my limbs would flail out of the blankets even if she dozed. She tried to help me sleep after feeding me and helping me burp.
My mother’s daily routine was an endless repeat of feeding me, burping me, and helping me fall asleep. I pretended to fall asleep when my mother wanted me to in order to help her out. She could only sleep for an hour or so during when I pretended to fall asleep.
I saw my mother cry for the first time after a week.
I heard her wearily weeping, although her silhouette was still vague. Her sobs were the opposite of the bright laughter I had heard with my aunt. My mother had to be at her limits since she had not slept well even once during the week.
I was the first and only child, and thus it was the first time my mother had raised a child. She could not go to the bathroom alone, and the maximum amount of sleep for her was an hour at a time.
So, she burst into tears, and I realized how difficult it had been for her to raise me.
I saw her stop crying to feed me, and around that time, I cared no longer for the quest. It mattered little to my plan, whether I failed my first quest. I could go hungry for a day if it meant my mother could sleep soundly for a day.
However, my mother became anxious and called everywhere when I repressed hunger pangs and did not cry out.
Twelve times a day every two hours.
My mother fed and burped me again as if she had not cried. My ultimate goal was not far away or something in the future. It was here right in front of me.
I placed two words on the top of my list of goals – filial duty.
Edited by Userunfriendly.